Role In GravityEdit
After the debris hits the Explorer shuttle, Kowalski mentions the "Chinese Station", later revealed to be the Tiangong. Throughout the film, the Tiangong is being seen as a speck in the distance, roughly 100 miles from the ISS, or mentioned as the only station containing a Shenzou capsule which would allow them to get home. After Ryan Stone reaches the Tiangong which is narrowly crossing paths with the Soyuz by using a fire extinguisher, she enters the abandoned station as it is quickly losing altitude and entering the atmosphere. Two possible explanations for this are that the debris field wiped it out and forced it to begin a descent or that the Chinese government intentionally lowered the spacecraft into the atmosphere to reduce space debris since space travel has been stopped by the debris anyway. Stone reaches the Shenzou capsule right as the debris hits and destroys the station, forcing it to enter the atmosphere and desintegrate.
- The real-life Chinese Space station is named Tiangong, "Heavenly Palace." At the time of the film's premiere, it consisted of one small inhabitable module. The Tiangong program's goal is construction of a space station much like the one in the film by 2022. Since Gravity is supposed to take place in the near future (despite use of a space shuttle) this is a possiblity.
- When Dr. Stone enters the Tiangong, an alarm sounds and a computer plays a recorded warning to the station. The recording is in Mandarin Chinese but when translated it is revealed that the recording says: "Danger! Please evacuate the scene (station) immediately."
- Kowalski says the Tiangong is to the west, and so is China.